STEAM LEADERSHIP: Making Adjustments to Your Professional Development Plan

3 Min Read  •  Leadership

As leaders transition to the third and fourth marking periods, reflecting on professional development plans are a natural part of continuous improvement.  Therefore, how are you evaluating your professional development and making adjustments?  Many leaders often find that they don’t have the time, or expertise to evaluating their professional development effectively.

“We have a professional development day coming up so we need to quickly plan something.  What do you think our teachers need?  What type of professional development do you think we need to provide next week at our faculty meeting?”  Sound familiar?

In his article, Does It Make a Difference? Evaluating Professional Development, Thomas Guskey argues that evaluating professional development doesn’t have to be a complex task.  In fact, it requires a little work in planning, asking good questions, and using that information to make sound leadership decisions for effective professional development processes and procedures.  Further, he suggests a framework for evaluating professional development that can support improving student achievement. The five critical components he outlines are:

  1. Participants Reaction-Did they like it?, Was their time well spent?, Did the material make sense?, Will it be useful?, Was the leader knowledgeable and helpful?

  2. Participants Learning-Did participants acquire the intended knowledge and skills?

  3. Organizational Support and Change-Was implementation advocated, facilitated, and supported?, Was the support public and overt?, Were problems addressed quickly and efficiently?, Were sufficient resources made available?, Were successes recognized and shared?, What was the impact on the organization?, Did it affect the organization’s climate and procedures?

  4. Participants Use of New Knowledge and Skills-Did participants effectively apply the new knowledge and skills?

  5. Student Learning Outcomes-What was the impact on students?, Did it affect student performance or achievement?, Did it influence students’ physical or emotional well-being?, Are students more confident as learners?, Is student attendance improving?, Are dropouts decreasing?

Think about some of these overarching questions as you work with your STEAM leadership team and plan for making some adjustments to your professional development plan in the coming months.  

  • What adjustments do we need to make to our STEAM professional development plan as we transition to the second part of the school year?
  • Is our STEAM professional development based on the needs of our participants?
  • Is our STEAM professional development sustained, ongoing, and job-embedded?
  • Are we incorporating appropriate adult learning theory into our sessions and are teachers generating meaning through collaboration?
  • What changes in educator knowledge and skills needs to take place in the classroom? 
  • What critical content and pedagogy needs to be taught to in order to integrate STEAM with two or more standards?
  • Are teachers clear that STEAM/arts integration is an approach and not a curricula?  What misunderstanding do we need to address?
  • What impact is our STEAM professional development plan having on student performance and meeting the diverse needs of our students?
  • How are we designing multiple professional development sessions that incorporate technology tools to support our STEAM integration?
  • What evaluation measures are we using to plan our next professional development session?
  • What are we learning from samples of student work, benchmark assessments, classroom observations, teacher SLO/SGG, and school-wide SLO/SGG?
  • How are we using these results to remove distractions for our educators and eliminate ineffective practices and expand on effective ones? 
  • What new data points will we incorporate to make adjustments, provide direction and clarity, and plan for ongoing professional learning?

What type of professional development sessions have had the most impact on your STEAM/art integration implementation? 

What major shifts or adjustments have you had to make to your STEAM/arts integration professional development plan this year? What evidence did you use to make those decisions?